17 June, 2003
An important step towards a Europe of Citizens – But more is needed!
The Union of European Federalists  (UEF), a supranational organisation presided over by Jo LEINEN MEP, welcomes the compromise  proposal  of the Convention as an important step towards  a more  democratic,  transparent  and  effective European  Union.  In our  eyes the election of the Commission President by the European Parliament, the integration of the EU Charter  of fundamental rights and the creation  of a strong EU Foreign Minister are the most important achievements.
But in other fields the Convention failed to come up with courageous proposals necessary to meet the challenges  of  enlargement  and globalisation.  The  UEF  criticizes in particular that there are still fields of EU decision-making that are not subject to co-decision of the European Parliament,  and  that  unanimity  within  the  Council  is  retained  in  such key  areas  as  EU Foreign and security policy. The principle of unanimity in a Union of 25 States undermines the democratic principle and weakens the capacity of the EU to act effectively. 
UEF  appeals  to  the  Convention  to  repair  the  current  deficiencies  of  the  Constitution  in  its July session and propose to extent qualified majority voting to all EU decisions.
The UEF criticizes the retention of the unanimity rule for the adoption and revision of the Constitution. The right of any single state to veto constitutional changes must be abandoned. The Constitution must formally enter into force when it has been ratified by a big majority of member states.
Some of the reforms can and should already be introduced in the year 2004, before the formal entry into force. The European elections in June 2004 must be transformed into elections for the Parliament AND the Commission, i.e. the European Government. The first EU Minister of  Foreign  Affairs  must  start  together  with  the  new  Commission  in  November  2004.  The Charter of Fundamental Rights should be a point of reference for the Court of Justice. And the  members states  willing  to  intensify  their  cooperation  in  specific  policy fields,  e.g. Common  Foreign,  Security and  Defence  policy,  should immediately  build up  efficient cooperation structures.
After the entry into force of the Constitution the new facility of “the people’s initiative” might be used to promote further reforms of the EU architecture. A  new  Convention should  come  together  5 years  after  the entry  into  force  of  the Constitution to further strengthen the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the EU.

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